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China to launch 'core module' for space station around 2018

The Japan Times

BEIJING – China will launch a "core module" for its first space station some time around 2018, a senior official told the state-run news agency Xinhua on Thursday. Advancing China's space program is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power. China plans to a permanent manned space station in service around 2022. The core module will be called Tianhe-1, based on the Chinese word for galaxy or the Milky Way, Wang Zhongyang, spokesman for the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., told Xinhua. "Two space labs will be launched later and dock with the core module, 'Tianhe-1,' " he said.

China is launching the first astronauts to its new space station

New Scientist

The April 2021 launch carrying the Tianhe module of China's space station China is preparing to launch the first astronauts to its new space station. The three astronauts will launch atop a Long March 2F rocket from northwest China on the morning of 17 June in the country's first crewed mission since 2016. They are scheduled to stay there for three months, making it China's longest crewed mission yet. The first module of the Chinese Space Station (CSS) launched in April, marking the beginning of a massive construction project in orbit. The Tianhe module will be the heart of the station, with living quarters for up to three astronauts, along with the station's control centre, power, propulsion and life-support systems.

China plans to invite other nations to work and stay on its Tiangong space station

Daily Mail - Science & tech

China has big plans for its orbital laboratory, the Tiangong space station, including inviting international and commercial partners to take part and visit the facility. The station launched in April 2021 with the Tianhe habitation unit, and by the end of this year will include two more modules, the Wentian and Mengtian science facilities. It sits 340 miles about 340 miles above the Earth's surface, about 100 miles higher than the International Space Station, and is about a fifth the mass of the ISS. China will launch six missions before the end of this year to complete the station, including sending crews of astronauts on six month missions, and re-supply trips. Chinese authorities say plans for the station, once fully assembled, include inviting space tourists and astronauts from other space agencies to visit, as well as linking up the station to become the control center for a powerful space telescope.

Here's what China wants from its next space station

MIT Technology Review

The Tianhe-1 module that launched this week is the core of what is supposed to be a three-part space station. On the surface, it seems to pale in comparison to the 22-year-old ISS. The ISS is a football-field-size behemoth weighing about 420 metric tons, while the much smaller T-shaped Chinese Space Station (CSS) will be a mere 80 to 100 tons, closer to the size and mass of Russia's former Mir station. The Tianhe-1 module is just 22 tons and 16.6 meters long. And after 12 missions this year and next to put the whole thing together, the completed station will still be roughly half the length of the ISS.

China's record-breaking astronauts are back on Earth after six months in orbit


As Space notes, Wang Yaping was also the first female taikonaut to live aboard Tianhe and the first Chinese woman to go on a spacewalk. The taikonauts were part of the Shenzhou-13 mission, which is the second of four crewed missions and the fifth out of the eleven overall missions China intends to launch to finish building its space station by the end of the year. They did two spacewalks and performed 20 science experiments while in orbit. The team also manually controlled the Tianhe module for a docking experiment with an unmanned cargo spacecraft. China, which isn't an ISS partner, launched Tianhe to low Earth orbit in April 2021 and quickly followed that up with several more launches in an effort to meet its space station's 2022 construction deadline.